§ Mr. Franks
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement about progress on the Link project.
The Government attach great importance to the Link initiative. I am pleased to be able to announce a new Link collaborative research programme in personal communications. The need for the programme is prompted by the convergence of telecommunications and radio technologies, which is generating a new industry of personal communications. The number of subscribers is increasing, with greater demand for accessibility both indoors and outdoors—whether stationary or mobile—and internationally. There is therefore a need to extend the range of services available and to integrate private mobile radio, cellular and satellite mobile systems. Much basic work needs to be done to achieve this. It will be a key technological development for the 1990s. This will be jointly funded by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Science and Engineering Research Council. £6.35 million will be available for a £13 million programme over three years initially, which will allow industry and academia to collaborate on the pre-competitive research necessary to develop a new, higher capacity, third generation personal communications system.106W
This is the eighth Link programme area to be announced, bringing the total planned expenditure by Government and industry up to £103 million. The Government will meet up to half of the cost of Link programmes.